Watch: We Tried Self-Heating, Instant Rice Dishes

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11:07 PM HKT, Tue October 8, 2019

We Tried is a series where RADII staff try out unique foods, experiences, and phenomena in China. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

As China’s unmarried population grows, the “singles economy” is undoubtedly on the rise.

For food, that might mean taking the traditional family-style meal and condensing it into a meal for one. Some companies have taken this trend to another level, offering an upgrade to the evening solo meal: no stove (or hot water) needed.

Part one saw us try self-heating instant hotpot, a time-honored Chinese culinary classic that has gotten a next-level convenience makeover — courtesy of a suspicious-looking chemical heating agent. In part two of our expedition down the self-heating meal rabbit hole, we try its instant rice dish cousin.

Our intrepid RADII team members cook up and taste test four flavors of these family-style meals for one. In Li’s emphatic words, “when you’re traveling through a rainforest, you’re going to bring a box of gongbao jiding (宫保鸡丁).” Could this be the new future of eating — and more importantly, does it size up to the original?

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